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If you experience pain or cramping during these everyday activities that fades when you stop moving, you may be experiencing a sign of peripheral vascular disease (also known as PVD or poor circulation). With PVD, the vessels that carry blood to your lower body become narrowed or blocked. Over time, this can cause lead to gangrene, and in extreme cases, amputation; fortunately, you can easily avoid this by working with our doctors.
There are two types of PVDs. The first are functional PVDs, which do not involve defects in your blood vessels' structure, and often have spasm-like symptoms that come and go. The second type are organic PVDs. A common example of these is peripheral artery disorder (PAD), which is caused by fatty buildups in the inner walls of arteries. Diagnosis begins with a medical history and physical exam, during which tests like an ankle brachial index, duplex ultrasound imaging, and angiograms may be performed.
Most people with PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes, medicines, or both. In a minority of patients, these alone may not be enough, and angioplasty or bypass surgery may be required. Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure that widens narrowed or blocked arteries. A catheter with a deflated balloon on its tip is passed into the narrow artery, then the balloon is inflated to push it open. After that, the balloon is deflated and a stent is usually placed in the narrowed artery to keep it open. If a long part of your artery is narrowed, a bypass may be needed instead. Using a different vein, this detours blood around blockage.